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Publication numberUS3408570 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 29, 1968
Filing dateJul 1, 1964
Priority dateJul 1, 1964
Publication numberUS 3408570 A, US 3408570A, US-A-3408570, US3408570 A, US3408570A
InventorsWatters Robert L
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wide scale indicator for weak current amplitudes within a predetermined range above a minimum amplitude
US 3408570 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 0 Robert L. Watters, Schenectady,

Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed July 1, 1964, Ser. No. 379,486 3 Claims. (Cl. 324-131) N.Y., assignor to General exceed the bias voltage amplitude before an indication is produced on the expanded scale. This insures that the electrometer is operating above its high drift range, enhaucing reliability of the expanded scale indication.

fication stage, or electrometer vacuum discharge device featuring an exeter outputisignal range to provide an expanded scale indicator. Preferably, the expanded scale indicator does not serve to provide an indication until the electrometertype amplifier is adjusted so 3,408,576 Patented Oct. 29, 1968 Another object of my invention is to provide an expanded scale indicator for use with electrometer-type amplifiers.

in accord with one aspect of my invention I provide additional amplification means coupled to the output of an electrometer-type amplifier. The additional voltage that opposes, or bucks, the output signal of the electrometer-type amplifier throughout the lower portion of the range of output signal magnitudes therefrom. Thus, expanded-scale indication is possible only after the electrometer-type amplifier input has been adjusted to provide this way, dication mistakenly relying upon expanded-scale indications which are unreliable.

The features of my invention which I believe to be novel measuring system invention; and,

FIGURE 2 is a schematic circuit diagram of another embodiment of the invention.

The block diagram of FIGURE 1 shows an electromsubstantially linear direct current amplimeasured.

The electrometer input means, including variable resistance 5 a d resistance 3,

A direct current scale-expander amplifier 9 is coupled to the output of amplifier 1 6. To this end, amplifier 1 is selected to input terminal provide a complete phase reversal, or inversion, between its input and output, in a manner well-known in the art.

By selecting resistor to be many orders of magnitude greater in resistance value than resistor 3, the current flowing through indicator 4 is made a corresponding magnitude greater than the order of current at terminals 7 and 8. The current flowing through indicator 4 is essentially equal to the input current multiplied by the resistance ratio between resistance 5 and resistance 3. Frequently, a plurality of input current ranges are advantageously provided by having a plurality of resistors of differing resistance values and a suitable high impedance switch having good insulation to selectively insert a resistance 5 (and/ or 3) of a particular desired value corresponding to a desired range. This is, of course, an alternative to providing a variable resistance 5, or can be used in combination therewith. In this way, the ratio between the input current at terminals 7 and 8 and the current through indicator 4 can be varied to provide a large number of ranges with a single amplifier 1 and indicator 4.

Amplifier 1 can be any of a plurality of well-known direct current linear amplifiers and a particularly advantageous selection is the amplifier circuit described and illustrated in FIGURE 4 of my copending application, Ser. No. 297,027, filed July 23, 1963, now Patent No. 3,320,532 issued May 16, 1967, and assigned to the assignce of the present invention. Amplifier input terminal 6 and output terminal 2 of that amplifier correspond to the similarly designated terminals shown in FIGURE 1 and described above.

In accord with the present invention, direct current expander-amplifier 9 is adapted to receive an input signal within a range that extends over less than one-fourth, and preferably equal to one-tenth, of the maximum range of output signal magnitude of the electrometer amplifier. The signal-bucking coupling means then includes a source 10 of substantially constant voltage having a magnitude equal to at least three-fourths, and preferably nine-tenths, of the maximum magnitude of output signal obtainable from the electrometer amplifier. The afore-mentioned substantially constant voltage is connected to oppose the voltage output of the electrometer amplifier.

With many electrometer amplifiers, the voltage excursion at output terminal 2 is typically from one to ten volts. In this case, amplifier 9 is selected to accommodate input signals of less than 2.5 volts, and preferably approximately equal to 1.0 volt. The source of opposing, or bucking, voltage 10 is selected to have a greater than 7.5 volts, and preferably approximately equal to 9 volts.

The input impedance of amplifier 9 is advantageously selected to be at least one order of magnitude greater than the resistance value of resistance 3 in order to avoid introducing an error into the indication provided by indicator 4. This is normally readily achieved because the effective output impedance of a negative feedback electrometer amplifier is generally approximately 10 ohms. In cases where it is not convenient to select an amplifier 9 having an appropriately high input impedance a diode can be used in series with the coupling means and connected to oppose conduction in the direction which current would otherwise pass due to source 10. In such case, the diode becomes highly conductive, or is forward biased, whenever the voltage at terminal 2 exceeds the voltage of source 10 but accuracy of measurement is retained otherwise. It should be noted, that current fiow through the input of amplifier 9 in no way adversely affects the accuracy of the reading of indicator 4, as long as the gain of amplifier 1 is large and the input impedance of amplifier 9 is great relative to the impedance of resistance 3.

In operation, when an expanded scale reading is desired from indicator 12, the resistance value of resistance magnitude 5 is increased until the input signal present at the input of amplifier 9 is shown by a response of indicator 12. No response is had from indicator 12 until the output voltage at terminal 2 has raised to a value approximately equal to the voltage magnitude of source 10. Consequently, the operator is required to adjust resistance 5 to approximately its maximum resistance value for which the electrometer is operative with a particular given strength of input current to terminals 7 and 8. This ensures that the electrometer electron discharge device (required as the input stage for electrometer amplifier 1) be operated near the maximum of its input characteristics so that the output signal component caused by an input signal is much larger in magnitude than the component caused by drift.

When indicator 12 is a meter, the system of FIGURE 1 readily provides an expanded scale indication wherein the needle traverses the entire meter face for variations in input current that are completely undetected by observing the response of indicator 4. In addition, needle movement caused by extraneous signals are minimized by requiring that expanded scale operation be obtained oniy through adjustment of the electrometer amplifier to operate with maximum input signal.

FIGURE 2 illustrates a measuring device as shown in FIGURE 1, but having a detailed schematic circuit diagram of a particular specific amplifier 9 that I have found to be particularly suitable for use in accord with my invention. Similar elements of the two figures have been similarly designated. It is to be understood that the detailed schematic circuit diagram is illustrated merely for the purpose of aiding those skilled in the art in the practice of my invention and it is not intended that the present invention should be limited to the specific circuit chosen for purpose of explanation.

In FIGURE 2 the voltage source 10 of FIGURE 1 has been replaced by a resistance voltage divider network including series-connected resistances 15, 16 and 17 that are connected from a source V of positive voltage to output terminal 2 of amplifier 1. It will be appreciated that it is frequently advantageous to replace batteries and the like with other circuit means whenever possible.

A first amplifier stage includes NPN transistors 18 and 19 having their respective emitters 20 and 21 connected to a suitable source V of negative potential by a resistance 23. Collectors 24 and 25 of transistors 18 and 19 are connected by respective resistances 26 and 27 to source V of positive potential. The base 28 of transistor 18 is connected to the junction of resistance 16 and resistance 17 and base 29 of transistor 19 is connected through resistance 30 to ground, or the point of zero reference potential for the circuit.

Additional amplification is provided by a second amplifying stage comprising NPN transistors 31 and 32 having their respective emitters 33 and 34 connected through a resistance 35 to the negative source V of voltage. Collectors 36 and 37 of transistors 31 and 32 are connected by respective resistances 38 and 39 to the source of positive potential V Base 40 of transistor 31 is connected to collector 24 such that increased conduction of transistor 18 results in decreased conduction of transistor 31 and vice versa. Similarly, base 41 of transistor 32 is connected to collector 25 in such a manner that increased conduction of transistor 19 results in decreased conduction of transistor 32 and vice versa. Stability is provided by a capacitance 42 connecting base 40 to ground and a network including series connected resistance 43 and capacitance 44 that connect base 41 to ground.

The final stage of amplifier 9 comprises a PNP transistor 45 having its emitter 46 connected to positive voltage source V by resistance 47. Collector 48 of transistor 45 is connected to the negative source V of voltage by resistance 49. The input signal to the final stage is provided by connecting base 50 of transistor 45 to collector 37 of transistor 32. Output terminal 11 is connected to collector 48. An indicator 51, corresponding to indicator 12 of FIGURE 1, is connected in from ground voltage source V and terminal 2.

When the threshold level is exceeded (i.e., the output voltage of terminal 2 makes a negative excursion of greater than the predetermined magnitude), base 28 of transistor 18 assumes a negative potential with respect to ground and transistor 19 commences to conduct as required to ensure that emitter 21 thereof does not vary substantially from ground potential. tion occurs because base 29 of transistor 19 is connected to ground by resistance 30, that is preferably selected to exhibit a low resistance value. In this way, all of the transistors shown in FIGURE 2 enter their respective amplification regions and extremely small variations in the voltage between terminal 2 and ground provide a large response from indicator 51. In a typical case, amplification factors well in excess of 100 are readily obtainable from an amplifier as shown in FIGURE 2.

One particularly desirable expanded scale amplifier as shown in FIGURE 2 utilized the following specific elements:

R-IS IOKSZ, multi-turn variable. R-16 3000. R-17 120KB R-23 30KQ. R-26 SIKQ. R-27 120KB. R-30 120KB. R-35 2009. R-38 39K0. R-39 27K0. R-43 SIKSZ. R-47 1000. R-49 -2. 2000. R-52 IOKQ. R-53 18Kt2. R-54 Kt2. C-42 100KQ., variable. C-44 0.1 ,ufd. T18, 19, 31, 32 1.0 lLfd. T-45 2N2349 V 2N1175 V +20 volts. +10 volts. V 20 volts. M51 50-0-50 [1.21.

When the above expanded scale amplifier was used with the electrometer amplifier of FIGURE 4 in my aforementioned copending application (modified by omitting the four protective diodes designated 1696s), a change of 0.1 percent in ion current produced a full scale deflection on the expanded scale meter and the signal-to-noise was in excess of 5. The threshold level was about equal to 9 volts and expanded scale readings were obtained from about -9 volts to about 10 volts. This required that the electrometer input network be adjusted to provide operation of the input stage near the maximum input range where optimum reliability of indication amplification factor readily varied from ance 54.

While only certain have been shown by was obtained. The of the expanded-scale amplifier was 50 to 500 by adjusting variable resistpanded scale operation is precluded.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the magnitude of said bucking bias is approximately equal to at least ninetenths of the maximum output signal magnitude obtainable from said electrometer amplifier.

3. A system for indicating the magnitude of a weak direct current, said system comprising:

(a) a direct current feedback electrometer amplifier having, input means adapted to be coupled to a source of weak direct current, a feedback path, and output inverted amplified electric signal (b) a first signal indicator in the feedback path;

(c) a direct current scale-expander amplifier having input means adapted to receive an input signal within a range that extends over less than one-fourth of the maximum range of output signal magnitude of said electrometer amplifier, said scale expander amplifier providing an amplified output signal to a second signal indicator corresponding in Waveform to the input signal waveform applied thereto; and,

(d) coupling means connected from the output of said electrometer amplifier to the input of said scale-expander amplifier, said coupling means including a source of substantially constant bucking voltage having a magnitude equal to at least three-fourths of the maximum magnitude of voltage obtainable from said electrometer amplifier so that said electrometer amplifier must be operated near its maximum input [range when an expanded scale indication is obtained.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,229,009 1/1941 Berry 324131 XR 2,269,227 1/ 1942 Rowell 324 131 XR 2,481,500 9/1949 Crowl 324131 XR 2,497,961 2/1950 Shaw 324131 XR 2,802,181 8/1957 Gorski 324131 XR 2,988,699 6/1961 Gardner 324123 XR 3,090,916 5/1963 Gill 324131 XR RUDOLPH V. ROLINEC, Primary Examiner. E. F. KARLSEN, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US2229009 *Mar 24, 1939Jan 14, 1941Nat Battery CoTesting apparatus for storage batteries
US2269227 *Jul 6, 1940Jan 6, 1942Gen ElectricShort range electrical measuring apparatus
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3935532 *Dec 16, 1974Jan 27, 1976Xerox CorporationAutomatic zeroing electrometer
US4836011 *Nov 12, 1987Jun 6, 1989Fisher Controls International, Inc.Zero and span adjustment circuit for current/pressure transducer
U.S. Classification324/131, 324/123.00R, 324/115
International ClassificationG01R15/00, G01R19/165, G01R15/08
Cooperative ClassificationG01R15/08, G01R19/16571
European ClassificationG01R19/165H2, G01R15/08